Paul of Tarsus was a Jewish scholar who had a major impact on the spread and development of Christianity in the first century. He is often referred to as the Apostle Paul, or simply Paul, and is known as one of four key figures in the New Testament. Through his missionary journeys, he helped to create a unified Church from diverse beliefs.
Born around 5 A.D., Saul (later renamed Paul by Jesus) was born into a Jewish family living in Tarsus, Turkey. He studied under renowned rabbi Gamaliel I and became an expert on Jewish law, which earned him citizenship rights within Rome. His allegiance to Judaism caused him to become increasingly hostile towards Christians until he underwent conversion after seeing Jesus during his journey to Damascus (Acts 9:1-22). After that experience, Saul changed his name to Paul and dedicated himself completely to spreading Christianity throughout the Roman Empire (Fee & Stuart 116).
Prior to becoming an apostle of Christ, Paul set out on three missionary journeys across Asia Minor during which he founded churches while teaching about faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:14-17). Along with Barnabas and Silas—his frequent companions—he traveled through regions such as Macedonia Galatia Lystra Phrygia Pisidia Antioch Iconium Derbe Patara Perga Attalia Berea Corinth Tralles Laodicea Tyre Ptolemais Caesarea Jerusalem Damascus Cyprus Marmarica Cyrene Jericho Actium Alexandria Myra Cnidus Sidon Joppa Caesarea Philippi Thessalonica Berea Athens Ephesus Colossae Troas Miletus Cesarea Philippi 1 Corinthians 2:8; 15:2; 16:5; Acts 16–21). During these journeys, he frequently encountered opposition from both Jews and Gentiles alike but it only strengthened his commitment further (Rice 66).
Describe who Paul was and his importance and influence upon first century Christianity.
The Letter of James cites many teachings attributed directly to Paul including topics such as charity toward others faithfulness abstinence from sin reprimanding false teachers male headship spiritual gifts etcetera. Furthermore throughout all thirteen books written by him either alone or together with other apostles we can find various doctrines vital for Christian understanding today such as grace love righteousness salvation justification redemption sanctification adoption sonship forevermore resurrection hope glorification etcettera This gave us an insight into God’s plan for mankind how they must live their lives if they want eternal life through Christ and how they should treat other believers so that mutual edification could take place among them (Fitzmyer 254-255) .
His writings are also credited with being influential in making Christian doctrine universal since he explained it clearly enough for people from different backgrounds—Jewish Greeks Romans etc.—to understand its importance Also through his personal letters written directly addressed certain individuals churches organizations etceter David Stark states how “the epistles were not intended merely private devotional thoughts though there may be passages within them that would appear so” thus confirming their public nature This means they actually served more than just religious instruction purposes but also provided practical advice regarding civil matters such economic issues marriage divorce slavery business dealing etcetera Therefore when speaking about early Christianity we cannot overlook contributions offered by someone like Saul/Paul whose life mission shaped this religion irrevocably(Stark 1177).
All things considered it goes without saying that Apostle Paul left a tremendous mark upon first century Christianity namely due both Letters influential teachings and extensive missionary work One can safely assume modern day religion would have been quite different if not for this man extraordinary contribution hence why history holds him high esteem despite what official church authorities think about him nowadays(Fitzmyer 257-258 ).